1851: What drew you to Runningboards Marketing?
Chris Mooney: Runningboards Marketing (RBM), the digital mobile advertising company, came into my life after I saw its digital advertising vehicle, or DAV® (pronounced “Dave”) driving down the main street of Watertown, New York. My background is in information technology and graphic design so I was immediately drawn to the concept, following the team on Facebook to keep an eye on their development. In October of 2018, the team posted that they were looking into franchising the business and I knew it was an incredible opportunity. After researching RBM’s lack of competition, franchising opportunity and business model, I could not find a single reason why the company wouldn’t be successful. The customizable business model was simple to implement, could be run from anywhere and was completely unique within franchising. I also researched RBM owner Calvin McNeely, which showed a history of building and running several successful businesses.
I approached Calvin at a Halloween party and the two of us discussed the opportunity to work together—the rest is history.
1851: What about Runningboards Marketing makes it unique within its industry?
CM: DAV is not what makes us unique, it’s our business model and proprietary software. Our franchisees are building a community-oriented business where they sell subscription-based advertising for successful companies that want to grow in their area.
As of right now, most operators of digital advertising trucks use them in is two distinct ways. First, some operators own a fleet of trucks which carry out a scheduled national advertising campaign for one major client, such as AT&T, in multiple cities. The second method is when business owners, such as the owner of five Cricket Mobile locations, buy a vehicle to advertise their own businesses around their local area.
RBM Velocity, our proprietary cloud-based software, sets us apart from the crowd while ensuring that we stay on the cutting edge of tech. While other companies control each aspect of the advertising process manually, RBM Velocity allows franchisees to run almost every part of the business themselves. The RBM technology pushes digital ads directly to DAV, builds and maintains the schedule for the subscription model and allows franchisees to easily track what's been displayed and when. RBM Velocity also integrates with our CRM and accounting software and handles our contracts.
1851: What have been some of the brand’s most important milestones over the past couple of years?
CM: In the Fall of 2018, Jefferson Community College Marketing Department selected RBM for their Applied Learning Project. The marketing students broke into teams and each created their own marketing plans. At the end of the semester, RBM helped to grade the projects and was graciously granted future use of all of the presentations.
In January 2019, we moved into our new state-of-the-art facility, allowing us to have ample space for training and support, as well as the shop space and tools to manufacture and upfit our DAVs.
RBM received the Watertown Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Emerging Business of the Year Award in February of 2019. In March, we drove DAV to Chicago, Illinois and introduced our brand at The Franchise Show and in April we opened a corporate location in Syracuse, New York.
In June, we drove DAV to the International Franchise Expo in New York City and introduced Runningboards and DAV to the global franchise community, followed by an appearance in July at the 2019 FranServe Expo and Convention in Denver, Colorado, where we showed off our brand to over 150 franchise consultants.
1851: What plans does the brand have in the coming years?
CM: Runningboards Marketing’s current plan is to expand our brand along the New York Thruway Corridor—from Albany to Buffalo—then south into Pennsylvania. We plan on working with various local media agencies and digital advertising companies in the area, as well as driving DAV around to advertise our franchise opportunity.
1851: What does an ideal franchisee look like?
CM: An ideal Runningboards Marketing franchisee is an entrepreneurial self-starter focused on building a community-based advertising business while working hard and having fun. Sales and marketing experience can be beneficial but is not required, as we will train and offer in-depth support to the right candidate. Our franchise model welcomes owner-operators, executive owners or semi-absentee candidates.
1851: How does Runningboards Marketing plan to support franchisees?
CM: Our support starts with three days of training at our RBM headquarters in Watertown, New York. Each new franchisee will be sent a “coach” in their area, helping develop DAV’s route and sales experience during the first few days of operation. An in-depth operations manual and a customer support RBM Velocity portal offer a strong support system for DAV troubleshooting and business development.
1851: What are your growth goals? What is your vision that you want your brand to fulfill?
CM: RBM’s goal is to have a minimum of five franchises by the end of 2019, though we are prepared to sell 10. There are several Digital Advertising Vehicles completed and ready-to-go for franchisees, and even more in the queue. As we are still new to franchising, each franchisee will have prime access to several territories and multiple DAVs. Our franchise marketing strategy emphasizes awarding franchises in New York, closer to our Watertown headquarters. As we move forward, we will be taking DAV to local markets and select franchising shows to actively advertise our brand and franchise strategy nationwide.
Within the next two years, we will be taking our brand and business model internationally to Canada. Although there are different vehicle laws and requirements, we’ve begun building relationships and learning the process for cross-border commerce and operations in Canada.
Our overall goal within the next three years is to have awarded franchises in every state. The RBM model is completely unique within the industry and the market is wide open for expansion. In terms of scalability, we are already working with local government organizations to allocate available funding and assistance opportunities for large-scale DAV manufacturing.